December 6, 2023

Almost three months earlier than Robert R. Card II fatally shot 18 folks in Lewiston, Maine, a gun store declined to let him full his buy of a firearm sound suppressor after he disclosed on a kind that he had psychological well being points, the store’s proprietor mentioned in an interview Sunday.

On Aug. 5, Mr. Card, 40, went to choose up a suppressor from Coastal Protection Firearms within the neighboring city of Auburn, mentioned Rick LaChapelle, the gun store proprietor. Mr. LaChapelle mentioned Mr. Card had purchased the gadget, which quiets gun photographs and can also be generally known as a silencer, from one other retailer, and that retailer despatched it to Coastal Protection Firearms for pickup.

The acquisition try is without doubt one of the first indications that Mr. Card acknowledged having psychological well being points. ABC Information first reported on the acquisition try.

Questions over Mr. Card’s psychological well being and his entry to firearms have been a key problem within the investigation into the mass taking pictures, throughout which Mr. Card killed 18 folks and injured 13 others at a bowling alley and a bar.

Throughout a current go to to a Nationwide Guard coaching facility outdoors Peekskill, N.Y., Mr. Card, an Military reservist, had a run-in with officers and was later evaluated at a psychological well being facility, in response to a senior regulation enforcement official. However the Maine commissioner of public security, Michael J. Sauschuck, mentioned on Saturday that he had no info to counsel that Mr. Card had ever been forcibly dedicated for psychological well being therapy. Mr. Sauschuck didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

When Mr. Card tried to choose up the suppressor, he acknowledged on a Kind 4473 that he had psychological well being points, Mr. LaChapelle mentioned. Kind 4473 is a federal doc that should be crammed out and signed as a way to retrieve weapons and firearm tools like a suppressor, and it’s used to find out whether or not somebody can legally full the acquisition.

It’s unclear whether or not he had indicated previously any psychological well being points on different varieties associated to his gun purchases. Officers have mentioned that Mr. Card had legally bought his weapons. Which means that, if he purchased them at a licensed supplier, he had handed background checks that included figuring out whether or not he was mentally match to personal a firearm.

The F.B.I. mentioned in an announcement that there was no info on Mr. Card in its background test system that will have prevented him from legally buying a gun.

On the Kind 4473 Mr. Card crammed out in August, one of many questions was, “Have you ever ever been adjudicated as a psychological faulty OR have you ever ever been dedicated to a psychological establishment?” Mr. Card checked the field, indicating sure, in response to Mr. LaChapelle, who can also be a metropolis councilor in Lewiston.

Below federal regulation, in response to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, there are two standards that prohibit folks with psychological well being points from shopping for or possessing weapons and firearm tools like a suppressor.

The primary is whether or not a court docket or different lawful authority has decided an individual to be “a psychological faulty.” Among the many determining factors is whether or not the individual is a hazard to themselves or others on account of psychological well being points.

The second is whether or not an individual has been “dedicated to a psychological establishment,” which means that individual was at one level admitted involuntarily by a court docket or different authoritative physique due to a psychological sickness or drug use. Individuals who willingly go to a psychological establishment for therapy don’t fall below the definition.

The workers on the gun store waited till Mr. Card signed the doc earlier than declining to provide him the suppressor. Mr. Card, in response, was “very cordial, very well mannered,” Mr. LaChapelle mentioned.

“He says, ‘Not an issue. OK, let me have my lawyer have a look at it, and I’ll simply come again and get it in a while,’” Mr. LaChapelle added. “Then he left the shop and by no means got here again.”

The Military mentioned in an announcement that in September, Mr. Card’s unit had requested that the Sagadahoc County sheriff’s workplace test on Mr. Card after the unit “turned involved for his security.”

In September, Sheriff Joel Merry sent an alert to all law enforcement agencies in Maine after studying that Mr. Card had made threats in opposition to the army facility he was assigned to in Saco, the sheriff mentioned in an interview on Saturday. It stays unclear whether or not different police companies noticed the alert.

Serge F. Kovaleski and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs contributed reporting.

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